February 28th, 2014
01:52 PM ET

What I'm reading: Can Ukraine avoid partition?

By Fareed Zakaria

“If neither the Slavophiles nor the Westernizers can carry the entire territory, some kind of separation starts to look inevitable. Such a separation might come about as paramilitary groups establish local supremacy. Or it might happen as a result of Russian intervention, as in Armenia, Moldova and, later, South Ossetia,” writes Daniel Hannan in The Telegraph. “It is easy enough to imagine Russian security forces crossing the border at the request of local proxies and establishing a de facto Russophone state. The Trans-Dniester Republic still exists, unrecognized but very much in force, on Ukraine’s western border; why not a Trans-Dnieper Republic to its east?”

“Does Nato have the will to prevent such a development? If not, what are our options? If a partition is coming anyway, might it not be better to take ownership of the process: to see that the border is decided peacefully and by referendum rather than by military occupation?”


“Crimea could become a part of Ukraine that is not really ruled by Ukraine,” argues Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post. “Clearly, the men with machine guns are not the product of a chaotic social movement, as were the protesters in Kiev. Someone bought them their unmarked uniforms, and somebody planned their carefully timed arrival on the scene. Their presence, coupled with major Russian military exercises in the area, may be intended to encourage separatism. So are the warnings that the Russian media have issued about “fascism” and extremism in Kiev. And if separatists don’t appear in large numbers, then the issue can be used anyway, as a constant source of anxiety and tension for the fragile new government in Kiev.”


“Today, the countries that are heirs to the old Silk Road are struggling to reclaim their heritage. The task is not easy,” writes S. Frederick Starr in the New York Times. “Many of their leaders are attracted to the authoritarianism that has brought relative stability to Russia and tremendous prosperity to China. The people of Central Asia have no prior experience with democracy, ethnic tensions persist, and many of their leaders rule with a heavy hand. Yet these countries remain secular states and are more tolerant of other religions than most of their counterparts in the Middle East. Their economies have grown steadily and they have embraced modern secular education, sending tens of thousands of youths to study abroad. They are developing new universities of their own, largely on the American pattern. Many use English as the language of instruction. And all can boast a rising generation of men and women drawn to the ideals of an open society.”


“The economic analogue of codependency applies especially well to the U.S. and China,” says Stephen Roach on Project Syndicate. “China’s export-led growth miracle would not have started in the 1980’s without the American consumer. And China relied heavily on the U.S. dollar to anchor its undervalued currency, allowing it to boost its export competitiveness.”

“The U.S., for its part, relied on cheap goods made in China to stretch hard-pressed consumers’ purchasing power. It also became dependent on China’s savings surplus to finance its own savings shortfall (the world’s largest), and took advantage of China’s voracious demand for U.S. Treasury securities to help fund massive budget deficits and subsidize low domestic interest rates.

“In the end, however, this codependency was a marriage of convenience, not of love.”



soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. JAL

    Peacekeeping coupled to economic growth. Keep it simple.

    February 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
  2. chrissy

    Why is it that everyone seems so obsessed with wars and death? Nothing else going on in the world i guess. Can you just imagine how disappointed our creator must be?

    February 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  3. Only The Shadow Knows

    Nations misled and devastated by corrupt governance eventually face the option of either being torn apart fiscally or physically.

    February 28, 2014 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Roman

    Reading these articles brings to mind ambassador's Bohlen's (one of the wise guys) quip: “There's no such thing as an expert on Russia—only various degrees of ignorance "

    March 2, 2014 at 10:15 am |
  5. j. von hettlingen

    The nationalistic aspiration of many Ukrainians had led to the fall of the pro-Russian Yanukovich regime. Putin was not at all amused and is paying the new leaders in Kiev and indirectly the West back in kind. The Kremlin supports the secessionist sentiments harboured by ethnic Russians in Crimea and has found an excuse to send troops to "protect" these people.
    Indeed, if the marriage doesn't work, better work for an amicable divorce.

    March 2, 2014 at 10:21 am |

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.